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11 new movies and shows to watch this weekend on Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and more

The Essex Serpent Tom Hiddleston
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Want to know what to watch this weekend? A bouquet of fresh new movies and shows is hitting Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and other streaming services. Stop and smell the roses — or peonies, whatever’s your thing. Fortunately, there’s a bloom for everyone in the bunch, from (more) true crime to a World War II spy caper and romantic comedy. 

Hacks season 2 continues the Jean Smart-aissance, sending her comedy legend character Deborah Vance on the road with assistant/writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) to test new material. But will the joke be on Ava or Deborah?

Several new shows are making their debuts. The latest true crime drama, Candy, features an honest-to-goodness ax murder. The Essex Serpent stars Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston investigating the existence of a snake-like creature in Victorian England. 

Among the best new movies this week, Operation Mincemeat shines a spotlight on the little-known true tale of an espionage mission that turned the tide of World War II against Hitler. And Rebel Wilson makes a comeback as a coma patient who wakes up after 20 years to complete her Senior Year of high school.

Here’s a guide on what to watch this weekend.

Hacks season 2 (HBO Max)

Jean Smart could read a geometry textbook and I’d watch. Fortunately, the writers of Hacks gives our Emmy-winning queen much better material for her role as stand-up comedy legend Deborah Vance. Her zingers are as sharp as ever in season 2, which sees Deborah hitting the road to test out a new act in clubs across the country.

Along for the ride is millennial comedy writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder), who has helped Deb refresh her jokes for younger audiences. Their relationship has settled into some harmony — though they’re still constantly needling each other — which is threatened by the looming revelation that Ava sent a slanderous, tell-all email about Deborah to TV producers. It’s a ticking time bomb that could blow up the entire tour. 

Streaming now on HBO Max

Conversations With Friends (Hulu)

Normal People was one of the best shows of 2020. Based on Sally Rooney’s novel, it featured a steamy but messy romance between two Irish students. Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal earned raves for their off-the-charts chemistry. So, naturally, Hulu eagerly greenlit another Rooney adaptation, this time of her 2017 novel Conversations With Friends, with many of the same creative team members behind Normal People. 

The resulting 12-episode miniseries follows smart, observant college student Frances (Alison Oliver), who is inseparable from her best friend and ex-girlfriend Bobbi (Sasha Lane). At a local poetry event, they meet an older writer, Melissa (Jemima Kirke), who is married to handsome actor Nick (Joe Alwyn). As Bobbi and Melissa flirt, Frances and Nick begin a surprising but intense affair that could upend all their relationships.

Streaming Sunday at 12 a.m. ET on Hulu

Candy (Hulu)

So you befriended an Ax Murderer? That might as well as be the title of this true crime drama. In 1980, suburban Texas housewife Candy Montgomery was accused of murdering best friend Betty Gore after having an affair with Gore’s husband. Gore was brutally maimed 41 times with an ax, but Montgomery pled self-defense and was acquitted. The truth really is stranger than fiction.

Jessica Biel stars as Candy, Melanie Lynskey plays Betty, Pablo Schreiber as Betty’s husband Allan and Timothy Simons as Candy’s husband Pat. The miniseries aired as a five-night event, an old-school choice but one that mimics the way the notorious case enthralled the public at the time. Now, all five episodes are available for your true crime bingeing pleasure.

Streaming now on Hulu

Senior Year (Netflix)

Rebel Wilson's been on a bit of a break from making movies (she was last seen in a furry costume in Cats), but now she's making a comeback to headline this comedy that she describes as "the wildly funny love child of Bring It On and Never Been Kissed.” Bring on the kisses! 

Wilson plays Stephanie Conway, a 37-year-old woman who wakes up from a 20-year coma. In 2002, she was a popular cheerleader with a hot boyfriend. Then, she tumbled off the top of a pyramid. Now awake, Stephanie decides to return to school to finish out her senior year and gain the coveted title of prom queen. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Operation Mincemeat (Netflix)

Mr. Darcy, meet Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth and Matthew Macfayden both had memorably smoldering turns as the hero of film adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and now they team up for this World War II thriller about a preposterous but real espionage deception. 

British intelligence officers Ewen Montagu (Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Macfayden) hatch a seemingly hare-brained scheme to gain ground in German-occupied Italy. They plant a corpse in the sea carrying fake documents about a campaign in Greece in an effort to hide their true plan: an Allied invasion of Sicily. It sounds absolutely bonkers, but Operation Mincemeat would become be a turning point in the fight against Hitler.

Streaming now on Netflix

The Essex Serpent (Apple TV Plus)

The Hot Priest has some competition in the “Lusty Vicar”! Tom Hiddleston is the handsome Victorian clergyman Will Ransome, who forms an unlikely bond with London widow Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) after she arrives in Essex to investigate reports of a mythical serpent. 

The Gothic drama pits Cora’s grounded, scientific approach against Will’s faith-based beliefs. Yet, despite their differences, an attraction grows between them — despite the fact that Will is married. Their friendship is tested when tragedy strikes and the townspeople begin blaming Cora as a harbinger of the serpent’s cursed presence.

Streaming now on Apple TV Plus

The Kids in the Hall (Prime Video)

The kids are back in the Hall — though they aren’t really kids anymore. The iconic Canadian comedy troupe return with a revival of their groundbreaking sketch show. Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson are older, but perhaps not any wiser than they were when the series first aired from 1989 to 1995.

Now, they are reprising beloved characters and introducing new ones in the same kind of provocative, smart-and-stupid sketches as before. They also welcome some friends in cameos, including Pete Davidson, Catherine O'Hara, Kenan Thompson and Will Forte. The eight episodes are accompanied by The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks, a two-part documentary about the five Kids and their careers. 

Streaming now on Prime Video

Firestarter (Peacock)

And here’s a kid who can burn down the hall. Stephen King’s novel Firestarter was memorably adapted into a 1984 film, and now a new movie tells the story for a new generation. Parents Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) have been on the run for years, hiding their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera). The little girl has a supernatural gift: She can create fire with her mind. The government wants to harness her abilities into a weapon of mass destruction. 

Andy has taught her how to defuse her power, which is triggered by pain or anger. But when she turns 11, the fire becomes more difficult to control and an accident reveals the family’s location. A dangerous operative (Michael Greyeyes) is sent to hunt them down and kidnap Charlie, but she has other plans.

Streaming now on Peacock

Our Father (Netflix)

Netflix is true crime central, in both fiction and nonfiction. Our Father is the latter, a documentary film that chronicles the twisted tale of former fertility doctor Donald Cline. In the 1970s and 1980s, he secretly inseminated dozens of women without their consent.. As a result, he fathered more than 50 children. 

The doc focuses on Jacoba Ballard, who discovers through a home DNA test that she has a surprising eight half-siblings. As they investigate their family tree, they are horrified to discover the truth about their paternity. Worse, Cline’s sick experiment isn’t even technically illegal, and the siblings are hampered in their pursuit of justice for the doctor’s victims. 

Streaming now on Netflix

Sneakerella (Disney Plus)

The Disney classic Cinderella gets a modern, gender-swapped reboot aimed toward tweens. El (Chosen Jacobs) is an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who works as a stock boy in a shoe store. Off the clock, he envisions the perfect pair of sneakers in sketches and songs.

By chance, he meets and falls for a fellow sneakerhead named Kira (Lexi Underwood). She also happens to be the daughter of basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King. With a nudge from his best friend (Devyn Nekoda) and a little help from his Fairy Godfather, El must find the courage to pursue his dream girl and his dream job designing kicks.

Streaming now on Disney Plus

The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)

Author Michael Connelly’s popular Mickey Haller crime novels have already yielded one great movie, 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey (which arguably kicked off the McConaissance). Now, Netflix is getting into the legal thriller game with a series that’s not quite based on the titular novel. Instead, it draws from Connelly’s second book, Brass Verdict. 

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays Mickey Haller, a defense attorney whose painkiller addiction upended his career and marriage to prosecutor Maggie McPherson (Neve Campbell). Now sober, Mickey inherits a caseload from a murdered colleague and begins working on them from the back of his Lincoln car.

Streaming now on Netflix

What else to watch this weekend

We've got even more TV and movie recommendations: 

  • 2022 Eurovision Song Contest (Peacock)
    The international battle of the bands concludes with the grand final.
    Airing Saturday, May 16 at 3 p.m. ET on Peacock
  • Breeders season 3 (FX)
    The struggle continues to be very real for parents Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard).
    Streaming now on Hulu
    Airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on FX (via Sling or Fubo)
  • Children Ruin Everything (The Roku Channel)
    Astrid (Meaghan Rath) and James (Aaron Abrams) struggle to balance being “mom and dad” and being their former, kid-free selves.
    Streaming now on The Roku Channel
  • The Quest (Disney Plus)
    An immersive competition series drops eight real-life teens into the fantastical world of Everealm to save a Kingdom.
    Streaming now on Disney Plus
  • Bling Empire season 2 (Netflix)
    L.A.’s ultra-rich Asian socialites and influencers return to shop, gossip and throw fabulous parties.
    Streaming now on Netflix

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Kelly Woo
Kelly Woo

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.